Love them or hate them, New Year’s Resolutions are here …for at least a day or two.
I am trying to get organized and think positively about 2018… So where does one begin?
1. Depend and delegate
I know, for me, this is one of the hardest things...sharing the responsibility! I come up with a million excuses, “I can do it faster, I know what I want it to look like or sound like,” etc.
We have a million things to do to prepare for the show. Depend on your colleagues to help you. Trust that you have surrounded yourself with people who want to see the show succeed.
My district created a parent organization to support the arts called The Producers. Not only do they raise funds for our needs, but they also organize the volunteers. One of the main ideas with this group is “We are here to support the director/teachers artist vision. Tell us what you need and we will get it for you!” This has been such an amazing support system for our programs. Delegate jobs and let others get it done! #GOTEAM
2. Stay organized
Keep a notebook with a to-do list. Jotting notes down in your script can be helpful but go back after rehearsal and add to your lists (costumes, prop, actor notes) I have tried to keep a few steno pads, one for notes for the production we are currently rehearsing, one is a log for student behavior and one for classroom to do etc.
Then I have the attendance book for the cast with the absentee list (printed daily), nurse notes, parent contacts, parent notes, teacher notes, phone call log…Then I have a book for set design plans, notes, etc. And of course my director script with a gazillion blocking, lighting, prop, setting, costumes notes.
I LOVE when I am able to cross things off of those lists as they are completed.
3. be Positive and laugh
Running the show is never easy but you are here because you love it. Keep that positive energy around you and the performers. This will in turn keep everyone POSITIVE. The energy can help when you do come up against a challenge. Laughter is the best medicine. Remind yourself and the cast, “We can laugh and have fun, if we are getting our jobs done.”
4. Don't panic and get caught up in the drama
Everyone is stressed out three weeks out! You are juggling 100 different jobs/problems at once for how many cast members. You have money issues, set issues, costumes etc.
Just breath and know it will come together.
Sometimes in the hype and excitement we get consumed with the “drama.” Remember you are an example to the children. Remain calm under pressure and LAUGH when you can.
5. Take care of you!
Sleep, eat and breathe.
You are pulling 14 hour days. Teaching all day and trying to get this show ready.
Eat well- yeah that donut is a quick fix but try and eat some fruits and vegetables.
Drink some water. Get to bed early once or twice a week in your hectic weeks leading up to the show. Breath-Yoga, meditation. Put an app on your phone. Lock yourself in your office or classroom for five minutes without doing anything show related.
Post new year's resolution notes
My previous thoughts were conceived during our first week in the theater prepping for our musical theatre production of High School Musical Jr. with over 60 sixth grade students. As much as tech week is next week, I have three other projects that I will be juggling between now and May that I must start working on now. The advice I gave can be used not just for one show but for your whole year. The only thoughts I would add are:
6. PLAN AHEAD
I have to give my district my upcoming calendar year in March. Not always easy to do when I don’t know what shows I may be doing, what the cast size or make up is, etc.
However, knowing those dates are set in stone does help me plan accordingly. Does that mean the “stone” calendar never changes? HA HA HA…no! It does change. I work in a public school where academic testing and events force our hand. A strong schedule helps not only the staff or team, it also helps the parents and hopefully the excuses from rolling in come rehearsal and performance dates.
7. YOUR WHY?
What is your why? What drives you to spend 300 hours on a production when you get paid for 40? What drives you to work with “that” student who everyone else has given up on? Why are you there? Knowing your “why” can help you stay focused even when everything else is challenging you to the point of “I QUIT!”
I put my timeline of production posters/memorabilia on my wall in my classroom, to ground me and remind me of all the students’ lives I have touched, the history that I have created with so many. Sometimes when I am working on a project or creating new lesson ideas, I will find pictures or a note from a former student. It always makes me smile and fills my heart with my why? What is your why?
What are your New Year’s Resolutions for your program?
How can you make your life easier but just as effective?
Would love to hear what you do to GET IT DONE!
Caitlin E. Gioe
5th and 6th grade Drama Teacher
Stafford Intermediate School